There are a wide range of cakes that can qualify as coffee cakes and their most distinctive feature is that they are never topped with frosting, unlike a dedicated dessert cake. They can be baked in pans of all shapes and sizes, include all kinds of fruits and nuts and are welcome at just about every occasion – although they are especially welcome at brunch. Coffee Cakes: Simple, Sweet and Savory is dedicated to coffee cakes of every kind. It includes dozens of recipes, both quick bread-type cakes and yeasted breads and cakes, and is sure to have at least a few recipes that will tempt you to bake.
The book is divided up into several chapters and includes Sunday Brunch Cakes, Everyday Morning Cakes, Bundt Party Cakes and Delectable Dessert Cakes. Sticking true to the idea of a coffee cake, none of these cakes include frosting, but many include streusel, crumb and nut toppings that give them a finishing touch. The flavors of the cakes cover a wide range, from indulgent chocolate cakes to lighter cakes that come with a dose of bran or flaxseed. The book also includes several recipes for savory dishes, and while you might not usually associate coffee cakes with things that are savory, a savory bread or cake can easily fit into the same kind of menu that a sweet cake can. Most of the savory recipes are yeast-based breads and would make a welcome addition to most meals – including picnics, as the author suggests.
There are photos of most of the recipes in the book, and the full-page, full-color images make every cake and bread in here look absolutely delicious, so the only problem you’ll have is trying to decide where to start. The recipes are well written and easy to follow along with, and they stick with ingredients that are readily available in any grocery store. Many of the cakes showcase fruits, both seasonal and year-round, which I always like in a coffee cake. This is the kind of book that you will get a lot of use out of if you like to bake because coffee cakes are low maintenance cakes and there is always an occasion that could use one.
Note: I actually just picked up a copy of this book at a great used bookstore. It’s out of print at the moment, but there are plenty of used copies and you can buy it for a Kindle or other tablet, too.